Are Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.’s Institutional Investors Remaining Cautious in the Near-Term?

After five months of trading in 2012, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.’s (NYSE:CLF) shares are down 24.43 percent. Recently, the company’s stock was downgraded by Bank of America analysts. The firm cut its rating from “Buy” to “Neutral” and decreased its price target from $84 to $60.

A Bank of America analyst commented of the action, “We downgrade CLF to Neutral from Buy as we contemplate a more cautious outlook on iron ore. While much of potential excess supply and more modest demand seem priced into shares, we see limited upside amid likely further iron ore pressure. We are confident in CLF’s ability to lower costs and add capacity but a weaker iron ore price trumps these accomplishments in our view. Sustained cash flow strength and a 5% dividend yield rest on a certain iron ore price, which may be at risk. Our new estimates use the forward curve at $120/t for 2013E iron ore vs a prior $140/t. We assume Chinese and global steel demand growth ~5%.”

With the stock’s downgrade, will Cliffs Natural Resources largest shareholders cut their holdings? 581 institutional firms indicated owning shares of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF) in Q1 2012. These firms reported owning a total of 130.154 million shares on 03/31/2012. The shares closed at $68.61 on 03/31/2012.

Here are the ten largest positions in Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. at the end of March 31st, 2012.

Capital World Investors held 16,268,500 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $1,126,756,345. This brought the portfolio total to 0.4%.

Vanguard Group Inc held 7,989,229 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $553,334,018. This brought the portfolio total to 0.07%.

State Street Corp held 5,940,377 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $411,430,524. This brought the portfolio total to 0.06%.

Winslow Capital Management Inc /MN held 4,091,748 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $283,394,475. This brought the portfolio total to 0.84%.

Blackrock Institutional Trust Company N.A. held 3,736,831 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $258,812,923. This brought the portfolio total to 0.06%.

Calamos Advisors LLC held 2,788,745 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $193,148,485. This brought the portfolio total to 0.86%.

Van Eck Associates Corp held 2,612,862 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $180,966,828. This brought the portfolio total to 0.87%.

Tiaa Cref Investment Management LLC held 2,568,679 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $177,906,713. This brought the portfolio total to 0.16%.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp held 2,047,359 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $141,800,089. This brought the portfolio total to 0.05%.

I.g. Investment Management Ltd. held 2,043,140 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $141,507,881. This brought the portfolio total to 0.57%.

About the company: Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is a diversified mining and natural resources company. The Company mines for iron ore and coal in locations across North America, South America, and Australia.

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